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Vermonters in the Civil War

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Collection Overview

Vermont soldiers in the Civil War wrote an enormous quantity of letters and diaries, of which many thousands have survived in libraries, historical societies, and in private hands. This collection represents a selection of letters and diaries from the University of Vermont and the Vermont Historical Society.

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Time Period Covered: January 1, 1861 - February 28, 1864 


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Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

Date:  1861-07-28

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include Benjamin F. Parmenter's negative opinion of an attack ( the first battle of Bull Run--see letter 3).

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    Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

    Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

    Date:  1861-08-08

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the regiment being located at Bush Hill Camp, rumors that they may join up with another brigade, more discussion of the 1st Battle of Bull Run, Parmenter's low opinions of the regiments officers,and his disappointment in the treatment of the soldiers.

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      Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

      Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

      Date:  1861-10-29

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include the policy of the war department to not allow anyone to go home regardless of their circumstances,enquiries about home, Parmenter's growing disillusion with the Army, and a discussion about "the Southern confederacy is a fixed fact."

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        Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Mary Bancroft

        Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

        Date:  1862-02-16

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include Charles Bancroft's health, the food that is being cooked in camp, and the capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. Bancroft wasn't involved in it, but the fall of Ft. Donelson reminds him that his tour of duty, if not the whole war, may be over by year's end. Bancroft sounds more confident as a soldier (enjoys picketing) and is certain he could serve another two years if asked.

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          Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

          Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

          Date:  1861-12-20

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include items received from home and events surrounding a bottle of brandy that was stolen.

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            Title:   Henry L. Terry to John W. Campbell

            Creator:  Terry, Henry L., 1820-1885

            Date:  1861-10-21

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include encamping at Lee's Mill, twelve miles from Washington, close to the Rebels.

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              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

              Date:  1863-07-27

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Writing a very brief letter from Warrenton, Virginia topics include the continuous marching, lack of food, the hardships the men are currently facing met with cheerfulness, moving on to Culpeper, then to Gordonsville and hopefully on to Richmond.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1863-07-29

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Writing in the field near Warrenton, Virginia topics include the importance of receiving letters from home, morale kept up by sharing bits of news from home with each other in spite of the hardships in camp, reference to several commanding officers including French, Elliot, Morris, General George Meade, his hearsay knowledge of the drunkenness of Gen. Joseph Hooker, of receiving a home newspaper with one of his letters printed in it.

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1863-08-24

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  From in the field topics include Rutherford's friends at home worrying about him, the lack of opportunity for promotion in the regiment at this time, the position of "Salter" mentioned (procurer of salt, a maker of and dealer in salt, a drysalter?), and the method for treating typhoid fever, diarrhea among the sick men, looking on the bright side dealing with adversities of camp life.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1862-10-26

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing en route, topics include a description of the journey to Washington on the “Elm City” train, his deep desire for letters from home and an undercurrent of his willingness to accept how things are.

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                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                      Date:  1862-01-30

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include remaining at Camp Holbrook in Vermont for 4 weeks, grateful to hear from home, food not very good, a rumor of getting paid, and the visitors who watch dress parade.

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                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family

                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                        Date:  [1862]-01-20

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his parents and sister on the mud while out on picket duty, fearfulness of some of the soldiers, list of items to send from home including a reference to his much needed new boots, sickness and deaths in the Regiment, and news of the Rochester boys.

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                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-02-02

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Towle writes of missing his newspaper and his wish to remain informed on both foreign and army news and of some of the men's morale writing home about the hardships of war and a desire to see it end. He writes of Col. Stoughton resignation, of officers' wives attending the camp's religious service and how the service differs from the traditional church worship.

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                            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                            Date:  1862-06-26

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Towle writes of what he hears about the living conditions of the Rebels including forced service, some without enough food and about the Battle of Richmond having been going on for a month with artillery shelling and likely to continue.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1863-04-13

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              A brief letter from Farnham who writes of the unit moving out but not knowing where they are going, of being sad with wife gone but hopes she reached Scott House in Washington safely and is well ; urges her to write every day and he will also.

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                                Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                                Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                Date:  1862-10-30

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                As Heaton indicates, the Army of the Potomac crossed the river into Virginia at the time this letter was written (Gen. George McClellan would soon be removed, however, and succeeded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside). There is no record of a "very hard fight" at Gordonsville, Va. Gen. Wm. Buel Franklin was implicated in some intrigue against Burnside, and both were relieved of their command in Jan., 1863. Heaton complains about harsh treatment by his commanding officer and being denied a rubber blanket. Nevertheless, he claims to be in good spirits.

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                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                  Date:  1861-07-07

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writes of his uncertainty of when he will head home, of the men being anxious to be out of the army and away from camp life, a visit from Sect. Cameron, of the family

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                                    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                    Date:  1862-07-27

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writing from Camp Siegle, Virginia, topics include the journey to camp, their train cars running off the track with no injuries to the men, other men camping in the area being demoralized. He is in Gen. Piatts Brigade and Pope's division. Writes the hill being fortified with hard labor by the men, food in camp being good but not so good when on the move. Mentions the boys from Swanton being well. Six rebel scouts captured, one believed to pretend to be crazy but a grave ordered to be dug for the prisoner in hopes of getting him to confess his pretense.

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                                      Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                      Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                      Date:  1861-08-14

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the cold weather in camp and one of the corporals cutting off his thumb.

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                                        Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                        Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                        Date:  [1861]-09-14

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include Wheelock G. Veazey’s position as field officer of the day, the lack of sleep the soldiers are experiencing, and the ease with which the Rebels could attack the Regiment.

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                                          Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                          Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                          Date:  [1861]-09-22

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include an attack made on the Californians and a counterattack, as well as Wheelock G. Veazey’s personal opinion on the difference between killing a rebel and murder.

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